Before we begin talking about how to configure Time Synchronization on Ubuntu 20.04, let’s briefly understand – What is Time Synchronization?
Time synchronization aligns clocks to a common reference time. It ensures accurate and consistent timekeeping across various systems, such as networks, servers, and devices.
Time synchronization plays a crucial role in applications where time accuracy is vital, like financial transactions, data logging, and communication systems. By synchronizing time, errors and inconsistencies can be minimized, resulting in improved efficiency and reliability. Explore more on why time synchronization is essential and how it works.
In this tutorial, you will configure Time Synchronization in an independent environment on Ubuntu 20.04. We will also address a few FAQs on how to configure Time Synchronization on Ubuntu 20.04.
Advantages of Time Synchronization
- Accuracy: Time synchronization ensures precise alignment of clocks, preventing discrepancies and improving reliability.
- Coordination: Synchronized time allows devices to work together seamlessly, enabling efficient communication and collaboration.
- Data Integrity: Accurate timestamps facilitate proper data logging, analysis, and troubleshooting, ensuring integrity and auditability.
- Security: Time synchronization is vital for secure authentication, encryption, and digital signatures, reducing vulnerabilities and ensuring trusted transactions.
- Compliance: Many industries have regulatory requirements for accurate timekeeping, making synchronization essential for legal compliance and avoiding penalties.
You will require an Ubuntu 20.04 server with a non-root, sudo-enabled user and a firewall before beginning this tutorial, as specified in this tutorial on setting up an Ubuntu 20.04 server.
Navigating Basic Time Commands
You will use the command
date to view the time on your server. To print the date and time, any user can execute the following command:
Typically, your server will produce an output using the UTC time zone as the default.
Output Thu Aug 5 15:55:20 UTC 2021
Coordinated Universal Time, or UTC, is the time at latitude 0°. Using Universal Time helps to avoid confusion when your infrastructure covers many time zones, even though this may not match your current time zone.
However, you can use the
timedatectl command to modify your time zone.
Run the following command to create a list of the available time zones first:
Your computer screen will display a list of time zones. You can page up by pressing
b, and down by pressing
SPACE. Once you've found the right time zone, note it down and then press
q to leave the list.
The time zone can then be changed by substituting the highlighted area with the time zone you discovered in the list when using
timedatectl set-timezone. To make this modification, you'll need to use
sudo timedatectl set-timezone America/New_York
By running the
date again, you can confirm your modifications:
Output Thu Aug 5 11:56:01 EDT 2021
The newly selected value will be reflected in the time zone abbreviation.
You may ensure that your time is correctly synchronized in the following section after practising checking the time and configuring time zones.
The Network Time Protocol daemon, or
ntpd, used to handle the majority of network time synchronization. This service links to a network of additional NTP servers, that provide it regular, precise time updates.
You can now use
timesyncd instead of
ntpd with Ubuntu's default installation, though. Similar to
timesyncd, which connects to the same time-servers,
systemd is more tightly integrated with
timesyncd on Ubuntu.
timedatectl can be used to check the status of
timesyncd without any parameters. In this situation,
sudo is not required:
Output Local time: Thu 2021-08-05 11:56:40 EDT Universal time: Thu 2021-08-05 15:56:40 UTC RTC time: Thu 2021-08-05 15:56:41 Time zone: America/New_York (EDT, -0400) System clock synchronized: yes NTP service: active RTC in local TZ: no
If you didn't switch from the UTC time zone, the universal time may be the same as local time. This program also displays out some network time status data.
System clock synchronized: yes indicates that the time has been successfully synchronized, and
NTP service: active implies
timesyncd is up and running.
timedatectl to activate the NTP service if your output indicates that it isn't running:
sudo timedatectl set-ntp on
timedatectl once more to verify the network time status after that.
System clock synchronized: will read
NTP service: will display as
active after the sync, which could take a minute.
In most situations,
timesyncd will function. There are, however, some circumstances when an application might be sensitive to any change over time.
ntpd is a different network time service that you can utilize in this situation. The system time is continuously and gradually maintained by
ntpd using complex algorithms.
You must disable
timesyncd prior to installing
ntpd in order to avoid conflicts between the two services. This can be achieved by turning off network time synchronization with the command:
sudo timedatectl set-ntp no
Check to see if time synchronization is turned off:
NTP service: inactive is displayed in your output. This indicates that
timesyncd has terminated. You are now prepared to use
apt to install the
apt update to update your local package index first:
sudo apt update
After that, launch
apt install ntp to set up the package:
sudo apt install ntp
Following the completion of your installation,
ntpd will launch automatically. By asking
ntpd for status information, you can make sure everything is operating as intended:
Output remote refid st t when poll reach delay offset jitter ============================================================================== 0.ubuntu.pool.n .POOL. 16 p - 64 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 1.ubuntu.pool.n .POOL. 16 p - 64 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 2.ubuntu.pool.n .POOL. 16 p - 64 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 3.ubuntu.pool.n .POOL. 16 p - 64 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 ntp.ubuntu.com .POOL. 16 p - 64 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 +t1.time.bf1.yah 22.214.171.124 2 u 16 64 1 61.766 -20.068 1.964 +puppet.kenyonra 126.96.36.199 3 u 16 64 1 2.622 -18.407 2.407 *ntp3.your.org .GPS. 1 u 15 64 1 50.303 -17.499 2.708 +time.cloudflare 10.4.1.175 3 u 15 64 1 1.488 -18.295 2.670 +mis.wci.com 188.8.131.52 2 u 15 64 1 21.527 -18.377 2.414 +ipv4.ntp1.rbaum 184.108.40.206 2 u 12 64 1 49.741 -17.897 3.417 +time.cloudflare 10.4.1.175 3 u 15 64 1 1.039 -16.692 3.378 +220.127.116.11 18.104.22.168 2 u 14 64 1 70.060 -16.993 3.363 +ny-time.gofile. 22.214.171.124 2 u 21 64 1 75.349 -18.333 2.763 golem.canonical 126.96.36.199 2 u 28 64 1 134.482 -21.655 0.000 ntp3.junkemailf 188.8.131.52 2 u 19 64 1 2.632 -16.330 4.387 clock.xmission. .XMIS. 1 u 18 64 1 24.927 -16.712 3.415 alphyn.canonica 184.108.40.206 2 u 26 64 1 73.612 -19.371 0.000 strongbad.voice 220.127.116.11 2 u 17 64 1 70.766 -18.159 3.481 chilipepper.can 18.104.22.168 2 u 25 64 1 134.982 -19.848 0.000 pugot.canonical 22.214.171.124 2 u 28 64 1 135.694 -21.075 0.000 ntpq is a query tool for ntpd. The -p flag requests information about the NTP servers (or peers) ntpd is connected to. Your output will be slightly different but will list the default Ubuntu pool servers plus a few others. Remember, it can take a few minutes for ntpd to establish connections. Conclusion In this article, you’ve successfully viewed the system time, changed time zones, worked with Ubuntu’s default timesyncd service, and installed ntpd. If you have advanced timekeeping needs, you can reference the official NTP documentation, and also take a look at the NTP Pool Project, a global group of volunteers providing much of the world’s NTP infrastructure. Thanks for learning with the DigitalOcean Community. Check out our offerings for compute, storage, networking, and managed databases. Learn more about us Want to learn more? Join the DigitalOcean Community! Join our DigitalOcean community of over a million developers for free! Get help and share knowledge in our Questions & Answers section, find tutorials and tools that will help you grow as a developer and scale your project or business, and subscribe to topics of interest. Sign up now About the authors Default avatar Jeanelle HorcasitasAuthor Technical Writer Educator and writer committed to empowering our community by providing access to the knowledge and tools for making creative ideas into a reality Default avatar Justin EllingwoodAuthor Default avatar Brian BoucheronAuthor Still looking for an answer? Ask a question Search for more help Was this helpful? Yes No Comments 1 Comments This textbox defaults to using Markdown to format your answer. You can type !ref in this text area to quickly search our full set of tutorials, documentation & marketplace offerings and insert the link! Sign In or Sign Up to Comment aidanjalili03 November 3, 2021 Hi! I was wondering that if I set my timezone to America/New_York – using the method you described here – if my timezone will automatically update to standard time (EST) in the fall/winter when appropriate and then back to daylight time (EDT) in the spring/summer? Reply Creative Commons This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial- ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Congratulations on unlocking the whale ambience easter egg! Click the whale button in the bottom left of your screen to toggle some ambient whale noises while you read. Thank you to the Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve and Merrick079 for the sounds behind this easter egg. Interested in whales, protecting them, and their connection to helping prevent climate change? We recommend checking out the Whale and Dolphin Conservation. Reset easter egg to be discovered again / Permanently dismiss and hide easter egg card icon Get our biweekly newsletter Sign up for Infrastructure as a Newsletter. 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ntpd query tool is called
-p flag asks
ntpd for details on the peers or NTP servers it is linked to. The list of servers in your output will include the standard Ubuntu pool servers as well as a few others. Keep in mind that
ntpd might establish connections slowly over time.
FAQs to Configure Time Synchronization on Ubuntu 20.04
What is NTP?
Network Time Protocol (NTP) is a widely used protocol that enables accurate time synchronization across networks and systems.
How do I restart the time synchronization service on Ubuntu 20.04?
Use the command
sudo systemctl restart systemd-timesyncd to restart the time synchronization service.
Can I sync time manually on Ubuntu 20.04?
Yes, you can manually sync time by using the command
sudo timedatectl set-time "YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS" and replacing the placeholder with the desired date and time.
Is it possible to disable time synchronization on Ubuntu 20.04?
Yes, you can disable it by running the command
sudo timedatectl set-ntp false.
How often does time synchronization occur by default?
By default, Ubuntu 20.04 synchronizes time with NTP servers every few minutes, but specific intervals may vary.
Can I configure time synchronization to a local time source?
Yes, you can configure your Ubuntu 20.04 system to synchronize time with a local NTP server or an internal time source by modifying the NTP server.
You've successfully examined the system time, switched time zones, used Ubuntu's default
timesyncd service, and installed
ntpd during the course of this tutorial. If you require advanced timekeeping services, you should consult the official NTP documentation as well as the NTP Pool Project, a global network of volunteers who provide a significant portion of the NTP infrastructure.
If you have any queries or doubts, please leave them in the comment below. We'll be happy to address them.